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DISCOURSE ON PRAYER :
EXPLAINING ITS NATURE,
ENFORCING ITS IMPORTANCE,
THE BENEFITS WHICH FLOW FROM IT.
By J. THORNTON,
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and
PATERNOSTER ROW ;
- It is impossible attentively and impartially to contemplate mankind, but we must be convinced that, in the most enlightened countries, multitudes are living without God in the world; and that great numbers, who even have some sense of their dependence on the Supreme Being, and of their obligations to love and serve him, possess only a very slender acquaintance with his revealed will, and the best means conducive to their everlasting happiness. It is chiefly for the use of this latter description of readers, that the following pages are intended; not, however, without a hope that they may fall into the hands of some who have been totally alienated from religion, and in their sober moments, or seasons of affliction, may be blessed to them.
Although some points, which have been, and still are, warmly disputed, are slightly touched, it has been the Author's design to treat the subject practically, rather than controversially; and it will be seen, by the quotations, that he has borrowed assistance from the most eminent writers, without regard to the sect or party to which they belonged. Indeed, the extracts and notes have swelled beyond his original intention ; but as the manuscript has been about seven years lying by him, these subsidiary aids have been gathered at intervals, in the course of reading.
The critical reader may probably find abundant scope for his animadversions. The Fourth Chapter will appear to some too much drawn out in details; and the division of Sections into heads and particulars, in the manner of Sermons, may to others appear a fault. But, after deliberate consideration, the Author felt persuaded that he would better consult the benefit of the great majority of Readers, for whose use it is written, by its present form, than if it had been cast into the more fashionable form of an Essay. Happy will he be, if this Volume should prove the means of awakening a sense of the importance of prayer in any who now neglect this duty, or of furnishing impressive hints and encouragements to those who daily live in the practice of it.